DealBook Today's Top Headlines - June 17, 2016: A Who's Who of Financiers Expected at Trump Fund-Raiser | Viacom Battle Escalates Again | Microsoft Moves Into the Marijuana Business
Friday, June 17, 2016
TODAY'S TOP HEADLINES
By AMIE TSANG
A WHO'S WHO OF FINANCIERS EXPECTED AT TRUMP FUND-RAISERDonald J. Trump is holding a fund-raiser with the Republican National Committee on Tuesday in New York City,
Alexandra Stevenson reports in DealBook
The event will be hosted by a who's who of the financial world, including John A. Paulson, whose hedge fund made billions betting on the collapse of the housing market. He will be joined by Stephen A. Feinberg, the founder of Cerberus Capital Management, and Peter Kalikow, the real estate magnate.
Tickets were going for $50,000 a person, although the hosts are paying $250,000 a couple. An invitation seen by The New York Times said that additional details would be disclosed once a reservation had been made.
The attendance of these men, some of whom had not publicly declared
their support for the presumptive party nominee, indicate that a small,
but growing crowd in the financial sphere is warming up to the idea of backing Mr. Trump.
This is crucial for the presidential candidate as Hillary Clinton's
donor network includes the billionaire George Soros and she has the
backing of some well-known Wall Street executives.
Other hosts include Wilbur L. Ross, a distressed debt specialist, and Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund executive. Mr. Scaramucci said on Thursday
that he expected about 50 or 60 people to attend the dinner, which is
expected to be held at someone's home, although the Secret Service will
not disclose the location until the day before the event.
Mr. Scaramucci was among the first on Wall Street to publicly announce
his support for Mr. Trump and has been instrumental in introducing Mr.
Trump to the hedge fund and private equity world.
But other executives have been more wary of supporting Mr. Trump, who
has spoken out against the hedge fund industry and the generous
compensation packages hedge funds give themselves. Mr. Trump also said
he planned to end carried interest, which allows private equity and
hedge fund executives to pay lower taxes by treating their income as
capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate.
VIACOM BATTLE ESCALATES AGAINSumner M. Redstone's National Amusements company announced on Thursday that it had moved to replace Philippe P. Dauman and four other directors on the Viacom board,
Emily Steel writes in The New York Times.
The development sets the stage for the firing of Mr. Dauman from the
chief executive role and escalates the war for control over Mr.
Redstone's media empire.
National Amusements said in a statement that the "newly constituted board" would evaluate current top executives and take steps "to ensure that Viacom has in place strong, independent and effective leadership."
The new directors are likely to be aligned with Mr. Redstone's daughter,
Shari Redstone, who publicly opposed Mr. Dauman's leadership of Viacom.
By removing directors loyal to Mr. Dauman, the Redstones would have a
clear majority and the power to oust him.
The moves do not take effect immediately and are subject to a court ruling in Delaware.
National Amusements said none of the new directors are affiliated with
National Amusements, Viacom or any Redstone family trust. They include
Kenneth Lerer, a venture capitalist who helped found the Huffington Post
and is chairman of BuzzFeed. Nicole Seligman, a former Sony executive
and lawyer who represented President Clinton during his impeachment
trial, is also on the list.
"This is a brazen and demonstrably invalid attempt by Ms. Redstone to gain control of Viacom
and its management in disregard of Sumner Redstone's wishes and to
undermine the current board's ability to represent the best interests of
all of the stockholders of Viacom," said Frederic V. Salerno, Viacom's
lead independent director.
ON THE AGENDA Data on new residential construction during May will be released at 8:30 a.m.
MICROSOFT MOVES INTO THE MARIJUANA BUSINESSMicrosoft is
breaking the corporate taboo on pot with a partnership to begin offering
software that tracks marijuana plants from "seed to sale," Nathaniel Popper reports in DealBook.
The software is designed to help states that have legalized the
medical or recreational use of marijuana keep tabs on sales and
commerce, ensuring that they remain in the daylight of legality.
Microsoft is teaming up with Kind, a start-up based in Los Angeles,
which offers a range of products, including A.T.M.-style kiosks that
facilitate marijuana sales, working through some of the state-charter
banks that are comfortable with such customers. Microsoft will be
working with Kind's "government solutions" division, offering software
only to state and local governments that are trying to build compliance
Even boring parts of the pot world were too controversial for mainstream
companies until now. Only a handful of smaller banks are willing to
offer accounts to companies that grow or sell marijuana. But it seems
like movement on the legalization of marijuana is set to continue.
Microsoft's entry into the infrastructure of the industry will legitimize it.
David Dinenberg, the founder and chief executive of Kind, said it had
taken a long time and a lot of courting of big-name companies to
persuade the first one to get on board.
It is hard to know if other corporate giants have provided their
services in more quiet ways to cannabis purveyors. New York State said
it was working with Oracle to track medicinal marijuana patients, but there seems to be little other precedent.
"We do think there will be significant growth," said Kimberly Nelson,
the executive director of state and local government solutions at
Microsoft. "As the industry is regulated, there will be more
transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated
requirements and tools down the road."
Microsoft-LinkedIn Deal Ignites Twitter SpeculationWishful
thinking among Twitter investors aside, there are not many obvious
buyers for the social media network, James B. Stewart writes in Common
Health Care Merger Offers Little Reward but Much RiskAmSurg and
Envision are combining in an all-stock deal that will leave each with
about half of the combined company, but little value is being created,
Jeffrey Goldfarb writes in Breakingviews.
Suncor Begins Auction of Lubricants Business Suncor Energy
has started an auction of its Petro-Canada lubricants division, which
could fetch the company about $800 million, Reuters reports, citing
people familiar with the matter.
Kuka Wants Agreement on German Jobs in Takeover Deal Kuka, a German
industrial robot maker, aims to obtain a formal agreement from Midea of
China that would preserve German jobs and sites after its planned
takeover, Reuters reports, citing a person familiar with the matter.
HSBC to Pay Record $1.6 Billion to Settle Dispute Over Subprime LenderAccording to a
suit filed 14 years ago, Household International, the subprime group
that HSBC took over, made a series of misleading statements about
lending practices and the state of the company's books.
Barclays Labels Lawsuit Over 2008 Fund-Raising 'Misconceived'Barclays said
the $1 billion lawsuit brought by the British financier Amanda Steveley
over the bank's emergency fund-raising from Gulf investors at the height
of the credit crisis in 2008 was "fundamentally misconceived."
Apax Partners Begins Auction for Trader Corporation Apax Partners
is considering a sale of Trader Corporation, a Canadian company that
provides advertising for auto dealers, that could value it at $1.5
billion including debt, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the
China's Postal Savings Bank Presses On With I.P.O.Postal Savings
Bank of China is gearing up for what could be the biggest initial public
offering in the world this year at more than $7 billion dollars, even
as the market for new listings is in its slowest period since the global
After MetLife Ruling, Regulators Push Back on 'Too Big to Fail' LabelThe Financial
Stability Oversight Council is appealing a federal judge's decision to
throw out its designation of MetLife as "too big to fail," calling the
judge's analysis "profoundly mistaken."
The Fed's Policies Have Gotten It in a TangleA look at the
Federal Reserve's own data suggests that its policies have led to
financial imbalances that place it under pressure to raise rates, Jeff
Sommer writes in Strategies.
Judge Denies Trader's Bail Request for Self-Financed House ArrestReza Zarrab, a
gold trader from Turkey, had asked to be allowed to live in an apartment
under 24-hour armed guard and GPS monitoring, all at his own expense.
After Insider Trading Conviction, a New Life as a SpeakerSince serving a
one-year prison sentence, Roomy Khan, a government informant, has been
giving lectures to students at business schools and delivering talks to
Spain Investigate European Banks Over Roles in Tax Case Spanish
authorities are investigating Banco Santander and BNP Paribas over
accusations that they helped shield customers' international transfers
from tax authorities, Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with
Watchdogs Exempt Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds From Scrutiny A study by the
Financial Stability Board, a group of central bankers and regulators,
has excluded sovereign wealth funds and pension funds because of
problems collecting data, The Financial Times reports, citing people
familiar with the situation.
Canada Said to Experiment with Blockchain The Bank of
Canada is working with the country's biggest banks to develop an
electronic version of the Canadian dollar, The Financial Times reports,
citing slides from a private presentation made in Calgary, Alberta, on
Supreme Court Rules on Legal Fees in Copyright CasesIn a unanimous
decision, the court said a student who won a copyright case over
imported textbooks should be able to seek payment of legal fees from the